It does feel like winter here, but not a particularly cold winter. In fact, temperatures have not yet been below freezing (here in the mountains of Gush Etzion). In fact, based on the data provided at http://cci-reanalyzer.org/wx/DailySummary/#t2anom one notes the temperatures worldwide are 0.7 C above average, while the northern hemisphere is 1.2 C above average. The only locations with below normal temperatures today (Wednesday) are Canada, eastern Russia, and points north over the artic ocean. So, we shouldn't expect any real winter weather in the Middle East anytime soon.
Yet, not all is bad -- winter wise. Our weather pattern has become fairly active and another storm should be moving across the eastern Mediterranean by the end of the week. In fact, a cool front will arrive Wednesday night and there will be a slight chance of showers on Friday, as well as a higher chance of rain Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night) into Monday morning. Winds will also be strong out of the west from Sunday into Monday, and there should be snow on the Hermon. Temperatures will also cool some more.
Moreover, there is a 50% chance that another storm will provide another dosing of rain from Thursday of next week onwards, so winter -- even though a mild winter -- continues.
In contrast, it also seems that the terror attacks never stop. The death of Raziel Shevach hits home: even though I didn't know him -- we all feel like family here.
Of course, if the terror attacks did stop, then there would be no need for signs like these at the entrance to Palestinian towns. In fact, there is one just down the road from the northern entrance to Efrat.
Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to live on the other side of such a sign. Wouldn't you feel embarrassed to live behind such a sign? I've also wondered what might be written on the other side of the sign itself. Perhaps it is written: "Entering Paradise -- Israeli territory."
However, here is what is more likely written on the other side:
The sign shows two examples of the amount of money paid to Palestinian terrorists who commit crimes, including murder. The worse the crime, the more they get paid. If they're married, etc, they get paid more.
There are efforts within the US Congress to pass a law deducting from aid given to the Palestinian Authority the amount paid to terrorist families and terrorists themselves ($350 million in 2017). There are also proposed laws in Israel to deduct monies collected in taxes. However, these bills are moving slowly because there is a fear that reducing monies to the Palestinians will cause greater "unrest." So, after an attack they arrest those directly responsible, and then restore the "situation" to what it was as quickly as possible. In my mind, this is like trying to fend off a voracious animal, where the slabs of meat are really human sacrifices.
Israel use to have a very generous policy for families, too. The purpose of our family policy was different, though, to encourage parents to have more children. The more children parents brought into the world, the more money they would get, and the amounts went up "exponentially." This proved to be too expensive, so payments now are much less than they use to be.
Let's make it a lot more expensive for the Palestinian Authority (which claims to be an actual state) to murder Israelis. There won't be any less Palestinian children being born, but fewer will be murderers, and fewer will grow up to be so.